Written by Dr. Steve Whitaker, Head of School

Last Saturday, as many were working on holiday “to-do” lists, 200 of our Middle & Upper School students, parents, faculty, & staff were serving Gold Star families (the children & families of military fallen heroes who have died while on active duty since 9/11) with The Gary Sinise Foundation and the Snowball Express. In December each year, Snowball Express brings children together from all over the world for a four-day experience filled with fun activities like sporting events, dances, amusement parks, and more. This year, they brought all of the children to Walt Disney World. This was an amazing event that was almost completely run and fueled by volunteers and generous sponsors.

Our students volunteered their time to serve throughout the day, and many members of our TFA family arrived at 10:00 am that morning and stayed until well after 6:00 pm. Our Steel Drum band played as children & families exited the buses at the Coronado Springs Resort and our cheerleaders and scores of Middle and Upper School students cheered as they entered the hotel. We have some truly amazing students and families who have hearts to serve and make an impact for the Kingdom.

The leader of the event planning team told us that she was so impressed with our students and their professionalism. She said they were the best volunteers she has had at any event – including adults. She mentioned that they would love to have them back in future years.

Gordon Snyder, our Fine Arts Director, spoke to an 11-year volunteer with Snowball Express, who said, “In all my years I have never met such well mannered, respectful young people as those from your school.”

Macy Laegeler, one of our Upper School Presidents, spent the day at the event and said, “It was an awesome experience! We got to help direct families to their rooms and check them in for the event, but the best part was cheering them all on as they walked out of the buses! The sweet reunions of friends that had both lost loved ones who served for our country were extremely moving and strengthened my love and thankfulness for our country. I was blessed to be a part of it!”

I am so proud to call this community my TFA Family. The students, parents, faculty, & staff who served at the Snowball Express event displayed what the true spirit of Christmas is all about. It also serves as a great reminder of what sets us apart as a school family. May God bless all of our families this Christmas season as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

You can see some of the images from the Snowball Express event below.